Researchers from the Mayo Clinic recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, to explore whether plant and animal-based foods increase prostate cancer risk.
To do so, they examined over 47 existing studies on the topic that involved more than 1 million participants. They gathered information about the subjects’ diets and lifestyle habits, such as whether they smoked or exercised.
After analyzing the results, the team found a high consumption of dairy products, like milk and cheese, was associated with a higher chance of developing prostate cancer. There was no apparent link between increased prostate cancer risk and other animal-based foods, such as red and white meat, fish and eggs.
As for plant-based diets, like veganism and vegetarianism, there was a decreased risk of prostate cancer risk.
“Our review highlighted a cause for concern with high consumption of dairy products,” lead author John Shin said in a statement. “The findings also support a growing body of evidence on the potential benefits of plant-based diets.”
Despite the results, the team acknowledged some limitations. They said the studies they evaluated used a range of methods, which could affect the overall findings.
They also noted prostate cancer is more prevalent in Western countries, where dairy is the main source of calcium. Asian countries have lower rates of prostate cancer and consume less dairy.
The scientists now hope to continue their studies with more randomized controlled trials that better report diet and lifestyle data.
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